At Gillespie's Map Room, a glistening row of taps pours forth mouthwatering glassfuls of tasty suds while ovens roast cheesy discuses of thin-crust pizza to crispy perfection. Nestled in the Warehouse District, a stone's throw away from Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field, Gillespie's Map Room relishes in its location at the heart of Cleveland's bustling nightlife neighborhood, as well as the adrenaline gland of the city's boisterous sports center. A no-frills row-house façade decked in humming neon shamrocks and wood-lined glass panels exudes a heartwarming turn-of-the-century charm. Inside, an interior of rough brick walls, live acoustic music, and a roaring fireplace frames relaxing post-shift beers and hearty meals of chili-topped hot dogs or pollock-fillet fish 'n' chips with welcoming hominess.
In 1972, Joseph Catanese created Giuseppe’s Pizza & Subs on the square-crust foundation of Sicilian-style pies and oven-roasted sandwiches. Like their dough, the chefs in Giuseppe’s kitchen rise early and often, making breads from scratch daily. Their pizza canvases also fuel the efforts of other local eateries by providing them with pre-baked crusts and frozen dough balls, which are also ideal for training for an upcoming basketball-eating contest.
Cala's Pizzeria features a menu stacked with cheesy, fried, and saucy savories. Tantalize tongue buds with starters such as breaded mozzarella cheese sticks ($4.99) or Cala's signature jumbo wings, extra-large hunks of meat stuck to the bone, deep fried to crispy resistance, and generously slathered, like a store-bought baby, in one of ten flavor-packed sauces ($9.99 for 15). Multiple varieties of pizza baked to order are known to emerge from ovens ($9.99 and up for large 12-inch), and specialty pizzas such as the bacon-double-cheeseburger and Italian-meatball pizzas will appease variety-seeking diners ($10.99/small, $14.99/large, $17.99/family). Cala's french-bread pizzas fuse the flavors of two highly haughty cuisines into a cheesy sandwich ($5.99 and up).
The pizza-making prodigies at Carmino’s cover their doughy palettes with generous layers of sauce and cheese before piling them high with succulent meats and crisp veggies, resulting in baked creations to appease enlightened taste buds. Myriad pie packers range from fan-favorite pepperonis, sausages, and green peppers to healthful heaps of broccoli, carrots, and zucchinis; or choose specialty toppings such as roasted red peppers and chicken. Customers conspiring to abscond the authoritarian reign of tomato sauce can choose between two tasty alternatives in garlic butter or butter sauce.
Steaming marinara and melted mozzarella are the glues that most often hold down Casamel's Pizza fresh toppings, although a garlicky white sauce is also available to unite pepperoni with fresh-cut mushrooms or ham with pineapple. Beyond the outskirts of hand-tossed pizzas, thick meatball subs join plump calzones, hearty pastas, and wings slathered in zesty barbecue sauce. Patrons can grab a seat and enjoy dessert cinnamon sticks in house, or request delivery service for a convenient meal at home, the office, or on a life raft.
Verso has expanded the traditional range of Italian fare to include Verso chips ($7), a deliciously seasoned stack of house-made potato chips heaped with provolone cheese, chunks of bacon, and green onion. Basic pizzas range from $6 to $16 to start, depending on size and shape (circle or sheet—sheets require 12 to 24 hours of advance notice to ensure their 800-thread-count goodness). Try a specialty option, such as a Caribbean ($18 for a large), topped with honey-lime oil, provolone, jerk chicken, mangos, caramelized onions, and cilantro. Sandwiches are available for easy gripping—bite into a chicken Philly ($7) with roasted chicken, sautéed peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese served on a hoagie. Pasta ranges from $9 to $11, with meaty additions running an extra $2 to $3, and comes in every imaginable shape and length, including whole-wheat penne. Wash it all down with a variety of $2 beverages, or imbibe from the beer and wine lists ($4 to $16).
At Molta Bella, dining pairs dive into side salads as dough-throwers launch hand-tossed or thin-crust pizzas skyward. Tuck into specialty pizzas such as the Ultimate Meat, laden with pepperoni, sausage, ham, and bacon, providing more protein than a polypeptide convention. The Hawaiian pizza blankets pineapple, bacon, and ham beneath its red sauce, and the Philly Steak pizza gussies itself up in a white sauce, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and strips of philly steak. Groups of four add an order of cheesy breadsticks to their salad-and-pizza spread, perfect for mid-slice munching or carbo-duels.